The term that describes the future

We use concepts to understand and develop technology; it's always been this way. We are already dependent on technical solutions in everyday life and more are on the way. In order to understand what is to come, a research group at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science has examined trends in science in the project "TACIT."

The researchers identified 11 terms relevant to describing a future filled with technology. The concepts were: ambient intelligence, digital living, Internet of things, pervasive computing, real world Internet, semantic web, smart environment, system of systems, ubiquitous computing, ubiquitous web, and web of things.

The term "Internet of things" is on top

Until 2009, "semantic web" was the trendiest term (the term that was included in the most scientific publications); that was when "Internet of things" came into the picture and has since continued increasing in use, no plateau in sight.

"An example of what "Internet of things" can mean is that all things in everyday life can be linked to an IP address and connected to sensors or transmitters of various kinds. In this way, they become smart things that can communicate with each other.

"It can also change the meaning of things and ownership. Previously, we have owned our things, but things in the future may have a stronger affinity with their maker and spy on us for their benefit, ”says Nasrine Olson, Senior Lecturer in Library and Information Science.

She explains that it is good to do this type of study so that the business community can see what is hot and how our attempts at innovation are doing in relation to other leading countries.

"It is also interesting to see that China is currently more prominent in research in several related areas compared to the rest of the world. Through our mapping, it is possible to get a detailed view and see what they are doing there."

"It is also good for the research community and doctoral students to take the temperature of different areas to know which ones are worth studying further," says Nasrine Olson.

Part of the Skövde-Borås collaboration

The project was part of "TIKT 2" which was a theme in the research collaboration between the higher education institutions in Skövde and Borås financed by the Västra Götaland region. Within this theme, university researchers in library and information science and informatics participated.

More projects have been underway, one of them being "IKT Väst." Within this project, Stefan Cronholm, Professor of Informatics and research leader, says that the work was aimed at creating a virtual collaboration platform for the universities to collaborate on.

"The collaboration has led us to finding good ways to collaborate with researchers at the University of Skövde that we did not have before. But also within the university, we have found colleagues whose work complements ours where our fields overlap each other," he says.

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Nasrine Olson 

Text: Anna Kjellsson
Image: Mostphotos
Translation: Eva Medin